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Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life's challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge.

Projecting confidence helps people gain credibility, make a strong first impression, deal with pressure, and tackle personal and professional challenges. It’s also an attractive trait, as confidence helps put others at ease.

How to Build Confidence

Confidence is not an innate, fixed characteristic. It’s an ability that can be acquired and improved over time.

Social confidence can be developed by practicing in social settings. Individuals can observe the structure and flow of any conversation before jumping in, and they can prepare questions or topics to discuss ahead of time.

Anxiety can take hold when people are plagued by self-doubt, so putting themselves in and getting accustomed to the specific situation they fear can assure people that nothing truly bad will happen. And the activity gets easier with practice.

Outside of a social context, one can gain a sense of confidence from personal and professional accomplishments. Continuing to set and meet goals can enable the belief that one is competent and capable.

Overconfidence and Underconfidence

A realistic appraisal of one's abilities enables people to strike a healthy balance between too little and too much confidence. Too little confidence can prevent people from taking risks and seizing opportunities—in school, at work, or in their social life.

Too much confidence can come off as cockiness, arrogance, or narcissism. Overestimating one’s abilities might also lead to problems such as failing to complete projects on time.

How to Raise Confident Kids

Children—and especially adolescents—can struggle with insecurity and self-doubt as they navigate academics, friendships, and romantic relationships. But parents can play a part in providing their children with the tools they need to develop self-confidence.

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